January 14, 2010 - Vol. 187, No. 1
GENERAL COMMENT Kudos to editors and staff. This issue is a MUST READ!
REVIEWS In A SHELTER IN THE TIME OF STORM, Bill Knott offers church members this succinct advice: “In this new year, your fellowship need not divide in order to become a place of safety and inclusion: it rarely helps when all the kindhearted ones swarm to some new storefront location.”
THE SPIRIT OF THE PIONEERS is a reminder by Stephen Chavez that we can't afford to lose strong candidates for church leadership because they are younger than we'd like them to be. “I understand the progression of moving from local leader to conference officer to union conference officer to division officer, etc. But I also know that a system such as that produces compliance and conformity, not innovation, creativity, and energy.”
Amanda Newton discusses TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DATING: DOES IT EVEN EXIST? with refreshing candor. “It may seem as if dating only other Adventists would simplify things. Why complicate relationships by dating outside the church? But not every Adventist is the same. In fact, there are varying degrees of ‘being Adventist’ today. There are conflicting political views. There are Sabbath-keeping differences. And although the older generations may not want to acknowledge it, there are many young single Adventists who are drinking and/or having sex. So a young Adventist has to consider how important these issues are in a future relationship. . .Although marrying an Adventist is important to me, I in no way judge others for marrying a Christian who may not be an Adventist. It’s a personal choice.”
WALDENSES IN AMERICA? is the Cover Feature by Gladys Sherrer. She visited the Waldenses’ community in Valdese, North Carolina and met the direct descendents of the 200 Waldenses who immigrated there in 1893. They are still known as “people of the book”. Sherrer was inspired by her visit. “As Christians, we each have a responsibility to honor our heritage, to be witnesses to God’s love. God has called us to show and tell, not merely the dusty relics of Waldensianism or Seventh-day Adventism, but to proclaim His grace, His biblical truth.”
Elijah Mvundura reminds us why we shouldn't be influenced by wild conspiracy theories in his essay, GOD IS IN CONTROL. “Conspiracy theorists explain all major historical events or catastrophes as intrigues by secret societies—Freemasons, Illuminati, Jews, Opus Dei—steering the world toward one global government. . .For conspiracy theorists malevolent and powerful secret cabals in high positions hold the levers of history. . .To ascribe such transcendent power to human beings, no matter how powerful or how influential, is to contradict clear biblical testimony of divine sovereignty over history. . .Actually, it magnifies the demonic.”
Clifford Goldstein invites us to join him in poet Wislawa Szymborska’s ‘Museum’ in TRINKETS LEFT BEHIND. It’s “the place where ‘ten thousand aging things have been amassed.’ It’s a poem, a paean, not so much about what death takes away but about what it leaves behind”.
Goldstein, no stranger to poetic language himself, reminds the reader that “In Christ our corpses are merely pajamas, sleeping attire, loosely fitting and comfortable if not exactly beautiful. But who cares, because our eyes are closed until that moment, until that “twinkling of an eye . . . [when] the dead will be raised imperishable” (1Cor. 15:52), and the museum door shuts forever on the trinkets left behind.
BEAUTY IS a young mother dying of AIDS who is not “asking for pity, just stating a fact”. She does, however, have a request of Elfriede Volk. “Tell me; you’re a writer. We have so few Christian songs in my language. I want to translate the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal into Ovambo, so that we can use the songs in our church services. Would that be possible? Would I need permission? How would I get that?”
Eddie Heinrich battles the guilt he feels for injuring his little boy while breaking the rules and playing baseball in the house. In BRAEDEN’S STORY, his son, rather than blaming his father, only wants to be snuggled on the way to the hospital. Heinrich reflects, “Like my son, who wanted to be snuggled by his father, I want to be snuggled deep in the arms of Jesus, where I can rest assured that He loves me and will never leave me.”
In AGENTS OF CHANGE, Hyveth Williams reminds us to be “grateful that amid prolific changes many things will always remain the same, such as Jesus Christ, the person we worship.”
There is a uniquely Christian way to live during AN ECONOMIC CRISIS according to banker Bradley Skilton. “In all of this there is still good news: humankind has the opportunity to rise above the storm by giving of ourselves and our resources to those in need. Fifty years from now—if Jesus has not returned—when what some are referring to as the second Great Depression of the early twenty-first century is studied in history classes, wouldn’t it be gratifying if what stands out as memorable are evidences of compassion, cooperation, and help for one another on a previously unparalleled scale?”
WORLD NEWS & PERSPECTIVES Two Adventist icons have died. Milton Murray, an Adventist philanthropy pioneer and Adrian Westney, a longtime religious liberty advocate passed away in December.
Robert E. Kyte is returning to denominational service as president of Adventist Risk Management, and Virginia-Gene Ritenhouse, at age 87, is once again playing the violin and directing the New England Youth Ensemble after reverse shoulder replacement surgery.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2112